There is something deeply unsettling about the terrifying mandibles that insects use to devour their prey. Maybe it’s the powerful bite force combined with the alien shape that make these weird insect mouths so horrifying. Whatever the reason, few thoughts are scarier than the notion of being caught in the armored jaws of a hungry bug.
The animal kingdom is full of creepy critters with powerful bites, and their scary mandibles have been the inspiration for countless horror movies. Humans seem to have a collective phobia when it comes to bug bites, and for good reason. Not only are they painful, but there are many horrifying and debilitating diseases that can be passed with a single bite.
Some insects have venomous bites, while others choose to swarm their victims and attack all at once. Maybe the smallest animals on Earth are compensating for their tiny stature. Based on some of these images, they're finding great success.
Some might find the camel spider repulsive, but its massive cheeks almost make it kind of cute. Camel spiders are a species of non-venomous arachnids that are native to the Middle East. There are a lot of nasty rumors about these creatures, like that they can grow to be a foot long and feast on the flesh of camels. This is not the case, as they grow to a maximum of six inches and feed on much smaller animals. Still, this spider is an impressive predator that can take down rodents, lizards, and even small birds. Their bite is said to be incredibly painful, so it's best to avoid these guys if you can.
Australia, the continent where anything and everything has the potential to kill you. Not only do you have to contend with deadly snakes and drop bears, but you also have to deal with these horrifying ants.
Australian bull ants go by several names, all of which are synonymous with terror. These tiny monsters are found in both rural and urban environments. They are very territorial and will use their impressive mandibles to attack anything that approaches their nests, and will even follow intruders. Not only do they have a painful bite, but they also have stingers that can inject venom into their victims.
Japanese giant hornets are not only scary, they're actually deadly. In 2013, as many as 42 people were killed in China by these venomous insects.
The giant hornets of East Asia are the largest and most aggressive in the world. They are known to raid bee colonies, and just a few of these hornets can take down a colony of 30,000 bees. Giant hornets are five times as large as the average honey bee, and their wicked mandibles can easily bite a bee in half. They like to raid colonies and steal the babies to feed to their own larvae.
Stag beetles rock one of the most impressive sets of mandibles in the insect world, and scientists have even staged stag beetle battles in order to study their impressive jaws. Researchers had been wondering for years how stag beetles could have such a strong bite, even though their long mouths would theoretically make it difficult to chomp down with any real force.
As it turns out, these lumbering bugs don’t actually use their mandibles to eat. They are mostly for display, but are also used in wrestling matches when it comes time to impress the females. A big difference between the males and the females is the size of their head, and scientists believe this is the key to their powerful bite. Males have a much wider head that is full of muscles attached to the jaw, allowing them to bite down with extreme force.